3D printing has been lauded for its tech-foot-forward approach to life, and for its widening adaptability and accessibility.

Social media, on the other hand, is already pretty ubiquitous — moreso with each smartphone landing in the hands of a new user.

The two platforms — social media and 3D printing — have already been introduced to one another. Both are staking theirLostFound-3 claims on everyday life, and both are widening their appeal and their use. If we take these two 21st century technologies and integrate them with something a little simpler, it could bring today’s message into yesterday’s values.

Urban sprawl is everywhere, and sometimes along the way, urban living can seem to lose a little bit of that “neighborly” feeling. Even with people living so close together, neighbors are more often regarded as a nuisance than as people who share in the feeling of a community. Turning to one’s neighbors in sticky situations should seem more intuitive, and the #LostFound concept is bringing that back in a new way.

If you’re like me, you’ve lost your keys… and your hat, and your water bottle, and your lucky scarf. Hopefully not all at once, but it’s easy to lose little things. Once on a run, a much-loved necklace fell off, and I had to painstakingly retrace my route in the hopes of finding it. I never did, and the only lesson I learned was to not wear a necklace when out running. I wished I’d had a way to check with neighbors along the way, but I sure wasn’t about to knock on every door lostfound hatin an eight-block radius.

Thanks to Shapeways, there’s a new way to avoid the feeling of desperate loss upon realizing you’ve dropped an important item, by bringing back the old grade-school standby: the lost and found. Rather than a box held in the principal’s office, a designer on Shapeways, named ‘OliveBird‘ has made available some neat, brightly colored, labeled hooks that can be attached throughout urban (or suburban or exurban or wherever) communities. These hooks are the perfect way to hang ‘found’ items.

But how would an owner realize their belongings had been hung up? That’s where social media comes into play! The #LostFound hooks are meant to be shared. A person finding an item can hang it up, snap a photo, and use the hashtag #LostFound to share the item and its location on Twitter and Instagram.

lostfound bag

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#LostFound hook 3D renderings for use on a fence (left) and a standard stop sign post (right)

If you lose your keys now, you can simply check out the hashtag; if there’s a #LostFound hook in your area, you might just luck out and see your keychain pop up in a photo. It would certainly be a huge relief to be able to find lost items so quickly and so easily! These hooks can really inspire a feeling of community, where you’d feel you could trust your neighbors to help you find your items instead of worrying that they’re lost forever or even stolen.

Two bright, pinkish red nylon hooks are available from OliveBird’s shop — designs by Egant — at Shapeways for just $12. That pack includes both a fence hook and a hook designed to fit into a hole in a standard stop sign. You can also find a two-pack of hooks just for fences or just for stop signs for $7.50. All designs are available for purchase or for download.

What do you think? Will #LostFound hooks catch on? Would you use them? Let us know what you think over at the #LostFound 3D Printed Hooks forum thread at 3DPB.com! Be sure to check out the #LostFound concept video:

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